Yesterday, I walked into the bathroom and caught my husband indulging himself in an activity that women hardly ever get discovered doing: shaving their heads.
For 8 months, we've both been threatening to end the hair crimes we have been committing since the birth of our twins. His look was verging on locked-in-a-cattle-car-with-little-chance-of-escape-Rick Grimes, and my own hair is beginning to look like running-from-the-law-Eileen Wuornos.
The truth is, it is expensive to get your hair cut and, in my case, dyed. Having long, thick hair that has to be coloured takes money; Frankly, it's money we can no longer spare.
My husband has great hair. It is thick, the hairline is solid as a 25 year old's, and it's the kind of salt and pepper that could land him a Just for Men print gig.
I met him when he was much younger and black-headed. There was a long gap between face to face encounters (most of our twenties). The first time I saw him, when we were both properly in our thirties, my eyes went directly to the silver in his hair and the smart little crinkles around his eyes, and I privately deemed him that much more fuckable.
I love men with milage. I've never been into boys, even when I was supposed to be. Instead of hanging up pictures from Tiger Beat, I was thinking about just how young Gene Wilder would go.
(Yes, I will go with you to a world of pure imagination.)
Watching, the electric razor cut gleaming swatches from my husband's head, exposing clean lines and a smooth neck--I felt...well... intensely jealous.
Since unintentionally growing out my own roots longer than I ever have, I have noticed a few things. Not only do I have a good amount of silver hair, I also have the beginnings of white, soap opera villain temples.
If I were a man, I would find me attractive.
Unfortunately, the strongest feelings I have about it involve shame that I can't scrape enough money together to colour it, frustration that I'm not brave enough to cut it all off, and disappointment at my own sexist ideas about what I'm allowed to do with my hair, because I'm a woman.
Because I am also an actor, there are a whole other set of ideas I have,or have gathered about it over time, that have also coloured my emotional landscape with a healthy coat of misogyny.
These gross thoughts are as follows:
-Grey hair looks distinguished on men and crazy cat lady on women.
-Short hair only looks good on thin, tall women (of which I am neither, at the moment...the short thing is forever...the overweight thing is a post-twin pregnancy thing).
-Never do anything to age yourself, including showing your actual age and hair colour, or else no one will hire or fuck you again.
There are more, but you get the gist.
Part of me also thinks that, really, it doesn't matter; I'm invisible and unhireable anyway, since I've become a mother and am in that lumpy larvae stage after giving birth.
Really, no one's looking.
I could dive into a vat of baby vomit and walk my double stroller in nothing but underwear shaped out of a Hardee's bag, and people would still see me as that smudge with those cute twins they met today.
A lot of this, I realize, has to do with my issues about aging, body image, and my overwhelming parental load, but some of this also has to do with the whacked out expectations that come with living in a society where women in the public eye often feel significant enough pressure to willingly inject themselves with poison and carve their faces up just to reach some semblance of youthful smoothness (even if they end up looking like The Joker with a Brazilian hair straightening treatment).
The hair thing, seems to be one of those thresholds that otherwise feminist leaning people will often give lip service to, but like myself, would never actually allow themselves to back-up with some actual white-streaked walking the walk.
I think it's telling that even in the landscape of The Walking Dead's zombie apocalypse, there is only one woman lead who appears to have some natural roots. Because we all know that were the zombie apocalypse to go down Walking Dead style, within 6 months most women, above a certain age, would likely have some crazy grey growth above their lovely, Balayaged ends (I'm looking at you Andrea).
It seems though, despite being willing to explore the myriad of horrors that humans might experience when faced with the survival of their species, grey roots on women is more of an atrocity than cannibalism and having a child cut a baby out of its own mother's stomach.
The brave thing to do would be to cut my long hair off and go full-on Carol. I just don't know if I have the sack to do it, and apparently, I'm not alone.